In Talk of a Tennis Union, Women Seek a Leading Voice

“I’ve been calling for this for 20 years now and it doesn’t happen,” she said. “The good thing and the problem is that it takes Djokovic to do that. And who’s going to do that for us? You can be as loud and try as much as you want, but the change is not going to happen unless everyone sits down and does it.”

If “everyone” means including players from the WTA and ATP tours, it will take unprecedented cooperation and a compromise in leadership styles. Djokovic was asked if he would join with the women, but generally declined to answer questions about the players meeting and possible unionization.

The men have been louder about complaints this decade and they hold several all-hands-on-deck meetings throughout the season for players to air ideas and grievances. WTA players tend to angle for change behind the scenes, as they did during their fight for equal prize money at Grand Slam tournaments in the mid-2000s, and do not meet en masse regularly like the men do.

Pam Shriver, who served as president of the Women’s Tennis Association from 1991 to 1994, when it functioned as a players’ organization separate from the tour, said Djokovic and players on the…

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